The Best Incense for the Home

To find the best incense for burning at home, start here with our top tips and recommendations—and don't miss our roundup of product picks!

By Savannah Sher | Updated Jan 18, 2021 10:58 AM

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The Best Incense Option


Incense has been used in various cultures for thousands of years, going back as far as 3300 BCE. It has been used in religious ceremonies, as aromatherapy, as part of meditation practices, and to rid spaces of negative energy.

Incense is thought to increase focus, aid sleep, stimulate creativity, and improve mindfulness. It also works to combat unpleasant odors. Burning incense has a relaxing effect and has even been proven to be a natural antidepressant. Read on to learn more about the types of incense and incense holders and how to choose the best incense for your home.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Satya Bangalore Variety Pack
  2. RUNNER UP: Chakras Incense Sticks Variety Set
  3. HONORABLE MENTION: INONE Backflow Ceramic Incense Holder
The Best Incense Option


What to Consider When Buying the Best Incense

The following sections detail some important factors to keep in mind when shopping for the best incense for your needs.

Natural vs. Synthetic Scents

Traditionally, incense is made from a combination of plant materials and essential oils. Today, 100 percent natural incense is difficult to find. The majority of products are made with synthetic materials or a combination of synthetic and natural materials. Those looking for the purest and healthiest option should get natural incense—or learn how to make it themselves.


While stick incense is most common, incense comes in different forms.

  • Stick incense is popular because it’s inexpensive yet effective. Since the sticks are uniform in diameter, they gradually release an even amount of fragrance. Stick incense must be placed in an incense holder.
  • Coil incense is formed in a spiral and has a long burning time. It’s well suited for larger spaces or areas with a lot of ventilation. It often comes with a stand.
  • Cone incense comes in a solid form and simply needs to be placed on a ceramic plate or another heat-resistant holder. It is lit at the top, and the fragrance emitted increases with the burn time because of its shape.
  • Sachet incense doesn’t need to be burned or heated. It can be placed in a drawer or your car for a long-lasting aroma.

There are also several types of incense holders, also known as censers.

  • Ash catchers are used for incense sticks. They are sometimes called incense boats and can be made from wood, metal, or ceramic.
  • Waterfall censers are typically made from ceramic and are compatible with stick or cone types of incense. When used with cones, the smoke cascades down for a soothing visual effect.
  • Themed incense holders come in different shapes and frequently feature Buddhas, Zen gardens, and lotuses. They’re often ceramic, making them compatible with cored or solid incense sticks.

Cored vs. Solid

Stick incense can be either cored or solid.

  • Cored incense consists of incense wrapped around a thin wooden stick, typically bamboo. The resulting aroma includes the scent of the burning wood and the scent of the incense.
  • Solid stick incense has no core and consists solely of incense material. The smell is purer because there is no burning-wood aroma. Stick incense has a subtle scent well suited to small spaces. Solid incense should be burned in a bowl of sand or rice rather than in a wooden holder because it burns all the way to the bottom.

Burning Time

Stick and cone incense generally burn from 30 to 90 minutes. For stick incense, the stick length dictates its burn time. Solid sticks can also be cut in half for shorter burn times. Coils tend to have a long burn time and can be active for hours.

Our Top Picks

The following recommendations take into account all of the considerations outlined above. Continue ahead to see some of the best incense options to suit your needs, your budget, and your home.

Best Overall

The Best Incense Option: Nag Champa Sunrise by Satya Gift Set

This cored stick incense gift set from Satya is an excellent pick for incense lovers or newbies because it includes such a variety of scents. With 12 scents included in the set, one can sample a wide range of popular incense aromas. The set includes the popular Nag Champa incense, excellent for sleep, relaxation, and purifying a space. It also comes with sunrise, romance, fortune, rain forest, celestial, super hit, jasmine blossom, midnight, sandalwood, patchouli forest, and blessings. Each package contains 15 grams of product, for a total of 180 grams.

Runner Up

The Best Incense Option: Chakras Incense Sticks Variety Set

This set from Chakras Incense includes seven varieties of cored stick incense made with natural bamboo and essential oils. Each comes with 20 11-inch sticks, each of which contains 35 grams of product and burns for 60 minutes. This “root to crown” set offers incense for each of the body’s chakras (energy points). The various scents include patchouli, jasmine, ylang ylang, bergamot, sandalwood, rose, frankincense, peppermint, sage, and lotus. This set also includes a wooden incense burner, making this a great pick for someone with a new interest in incense.

Honorable Mention

The Best Incense Option: INONE Backflow Incense Burner Waterfall

This set includes 150 incense cones as well as a waterfall-style incense holder and various accessories. The incense smoke cascades down the holder, providing a calming effect when paired with the aromas. The cones come in five scents: rose, lily, lavender, ambergris, and osmanthus. Each cone is made up of natural spices and wood flour. The set also includes a mat to protect your furniture and tweezers for removing the incense cones. The holder measures 8 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide. The manufacturer recommends using the incense burner away from direct airflow sources like fans and air-conditioning units.

Tips for Burning Incense

Because incense is a fire hazard, it’s important to be mindful of the best safety practices.

  • Burn incense in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use an incense burner or stand on a heat-resistant surface.
  • Ensure your incense is not placed near flammable materials like curtains or tablecloths.
  • Don’t leave burning incense unattended.
  • Keep incense out of the reach of children.

FAQs About Your New Incense

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about incense.

Q. What are the benefits of burning incense?

Burning incense not only combats unwanted odors but also has a calming effect. Depending on the ingredients used, some incense has been proven to act as a natural antidepressant.

Q. Which incense scent is good for positive energy?

Both cedar and sage are thought to draw out positive energy.

Q. Which incense is best for cleansing?

Frankincense, rosemary, sage, and sandalwood are known for their cleansing abilities.

Q. Does incense clean air?

Many people use incense to freshen the air in their homes. One study showed burning incense for an hour decreased bacterial counts by 94 percent. The cleansing effect lasted 24 hours.